If you have an Aspie in your life, then you have invariably encountered the issue of money… Since we tend towards obsessive behaviors with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the obsessive nature of Special Interests, money has always and will always be an issue for your Aspie.
Studies show that between 53% and 68% of Autists (Autistic Spectrum Individuals) are unemployed. Of those, roughly half are considered disabled – i.e. unemployable. As such, we have little in the way of income at most times. Though, honestly, even if your Aspie is a productive member of society, they will still have these problems… unless they are extremely successful.
The reason for this is that, without the proper survival skill training, your Aspie is not equipped to survive in the modern world. They will be driven to spend their money on Obsessive pursuits and Special Interests.
The root of this is the the way your Aspie’s decision making processes work. I have covered this before – HERE.
Simply put, NTs have a spectrum of likes and dislikes. Their decision making process is based on a subconscious comparison of likes, dislikes, desires and aversions from moment to moment. Since their likes and dislikes lie on a spectrum, this decision making process is relatively easy.
|This was the coolest image that popped up for SPECTRUM… I like it.|
In your Aspie, this is not the case… Autists don’t have have this spectrum of thought, as a general rule. We tend to see things in absolutes… It’s black or white… or we don’t have an a opinion. Without the spectrum of desire, it is often difficult for Autists to make decisions. Sometimes, the dissonance of warring desires or aversions can cause an Autist to have issues, sometimes resulting in a mental vapor-lock.
This inability to make a decision at times can be a real problem for an Autist. Anxiety, stress, and the symptomology that accompany them can result. After a lifetime of this anxiety, Autists can and do avoid any situation where they will be forced to make a decision of this nature.
These problems result from our likes and dislikes being rated at a 10 or -10 on the spectrum of desire, respectively. So, when confronted with the focus of OCD or one of our Special Interests… we are relieved. You see, OCD and Special Interests are different from other subjects. They don’t obey the standard 10/-10 rule. OCD focuses and Special Interests fall into a +1 category. So, any decision that involves one of these things becomes an easy decision…
Allow me to explain… We use the same mechanism as NTs to make our decisions, but we often counter issues with our all or nothing intellectual processes. When we have an option of a 10 vs. an 11, the decision is an easy one to make… even if it is the WRONG choice to make. Even if we KNOW that the decision will cause problems or complications later on, we will still make it, as it is one we can do without hesitation.
If we have a choice between saving some money and buying something for one of our many collections… the 11 wins – collection it is! If we have to eat well or get something for one of our Special Interests… the 11 wins – and we’ll eat Ramen Noodles. Or, in my case – SKYLANDERS (Covered HERE!)
It is a fundamental flaw in the data processing mechanism in our brains.
Since we have these issues, we often need help to manage our finances… It may be necessary, especially if your Autist realizes that this is a problem, to help them with this by providing an allowance and keeping control of the rest of the finances. This can be problematic if the Autist doesn’t realize that there is an issue. If this is the case, it can be necessary to broach the subject with them.
Now, this isn’t to say that ALL Autistic Spectrum Individuals will have money problems… Some of us are lucky enough to have the skills to survive… And I envy these Autists… but the rest of us need some help, don’t be afraid to offer it.
Images in this issue SHAMELESSLY stolen from the following sources: